Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Great Day At The Grocery Store

For the past few years, I've collected the My Coke Rewards points from various Coca-Cola products. It is kind of a pain to keep up with all of them sometimes, but it can pay off. We've gotten some really good rewards over time. Back in December, they had a special on Coca-Cola 12 Pack Coupons. I really wish I could remember how many "points" I redeemed for the coupons, but it was a really good deal --- I should have snagged more than the three I did.... but oh, well.

Anyway, I HAD to go to the grocery store today, as it was the last day of the sale on my favored coffee, and they had a buy 2 Get 1 Free special on Coke Products (I could use 2 of my coupons and still get the 3rd Free). So, I ran to the store after work and this is what I picked up:

1 Milk Bone Dog Treats
3 Hamburger Helper
6 Betty Crocker Snacks
1 Velveeta
1 Publix Sour Cream
4 Eight O'Clock Coffee
2 Sprite 12 Packs
1 Cherry Coke Zero 12 Pack

Spent: $27.82
Saved: $52.86 or 68%!

Honestly, it is astounding to me that that few groceries would actually be almost $81 without sales and really good coupons (the coffee alone would have been $28!). Ridiculous.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Way Too Much Dining Out

When I started getting serious about getting out of debt, I looked for ways to cut our household expenses. One of the easiest things to cut was dining out and takeout. I planned my grocery shopping, planned menus somewhat and always had a game plan. Since my Mom's car accident, that has fallen by the wayside.

I think I've eaten more takeout meals in the past two weeks than I have in the entire 6 months preceding! Chick Fil A, Milo's, Domino's, Jimmy Johns, Yo Express, McDonald's, Wendy's, Jack's..... the list goes on and on. This isn't good for my bank account nor is it good for my waistline! I tend to make much healthier choices when I'm eating at home vs when I'm in line choosing from a menu. The lure of the really yummy fattening stuff overcomes the voice in my head saying "choose the salad, choose the grilled chicken". I have no willpower in restaurants --- so I need to stay out of them!

Now that things have settled down with Mom somewhat (we still have a long way to go, but things are moving in a great, positive direction), I've really got to stop opting for the convenience of fast (fat) food and get back to doing some cooking myself. My bank balance and the scales will thank me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cabin Fever

I've got a SERIOUS case of cabin fever. Its driving me bonkers.

First we had well over a week of rain, that then became snow...... and then you add in that I've been confined inside for a week now due to my Mom's accident. Wow. I feel cooped up and shackled and all those terrible things.

I decided that I HAD to get out for a bit. Nothing big..... just OUT. So I made myself head out on a walk. No big trek, just a simple walk around the grounds.Let some energy out. Get some sunshine. Put a few roses in my cheeks. All that benefit for FREE even.

Now, I'm back inside and tending to my mom (at this stage of the game that translates to waiting on her hand and foot because she's even more stir crazy than I am!)..... I can already feel the cabin fever rising again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Just a Quick Trip

I would not have thought I'd have had time to do ANY grocery shopping this week. And I really didn't have much. But we needed some things from the store for her, so I took the extra couple minutes and picked up a few things for my own household. NOTE: I understand that it is probably NOT the best idea to feed the Princess Chef Boyardee a bunch of times in one week.... but, I HAVE to believe its a better choice for her to throw in her lunch when she's walking out the door to class than to head to the nearest fast food joint between classes. Desperate times, desperate measures.

Anyway, this is what I picked up:

1 Publix Paper Towels
3 Pasta Roni
1 Honey Nut Cheerios
1 Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing
1 Bisquick
8 (blush) cans Chef Boyardee

Spent $13.13
Saved: $18.09 or 58%

Let It Snow!

We don't get much snow here in Central Alabama. Generally, at the first hint of a snowflake, the grocery stores are cleared of bread and milk... and everyone drives into a ditch. Yesterday, was my planned first day back into work after Mom's accident. I was going to work a half day. I got to the office a little after one, but the snow had already started falling by then. We didn't think it was going to be a travel issue because the roads seemed to still be pretty warm. However, it fell and fell. They made the decision to close the office at 2. Jeez --- however, since I'm a salaried employee, I am still being paid for the entire day. That works for me!

The ride home (and its just a short less than 10 minute commute under normal conditions) was a bit nerve-wracking. My car slipped on the icy roads several times. Then I got home, and had to stay on pins and needles until the Princess got home from class. She has a normal 30 minute commute -- and it took her over an hour. It was the first time she's had to drive under these conditions, so she was a bit of a basket case by the time she pulled up. She said she was sliding all over the place.

Snow is such a rare occurence here, that our infrastructure is just not set up to deal with it. Roads were a mess -- jack-knifed trucks north of here, pileups on interstates, fender benders all over town. Snow in the south is fun --- as long as you are at home.

They are opening my office 30 minutes later than my normal start time today. So I'm lingering a bit over my coffee. Will have to start getting ready soon, but for now.... maybe one more cup of coffee!

I'm going in this morning and working a full day, then will do my stint at Mom's.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Frustrating Doesn't Even BEGIN To Cover It

I am so damn frustrated with the medical profession. They hold your life and the life of your loved ones in their hands, and you definitely see some serious moral superiority. Wow. So, as we were getting ready for my mom to be discharged, a day earlier than we were originally told, the case manager comes up and tells me they have no insurance for her. Really? When I checked her purse after she was admitted, all of her cards and such were exactly where they were supposed to be, except for the insurance stuff. They were loose in the bottom of the purse. Mom said she gave them the info in the ER. So that had to be taken care of.

Then we get home, and have some questions (including getting FMLA leave handled for me --- I've got plenty of sick time and vaycay to get us through this crisis, but I need the paperwork done). Anyway, we called the office of the practice for the two docs on the discharge paperwork. However, their office personnel say Mom isn't their patient because she hadn't had an office visit before the accident and referred us to her general practitioner. Really? Questions about a fracture of the C-2 vertebra need to be referred to a doctor who hasn't treated the injury? I am about to lose my freaking mind.

And at the end of it all, I'd really like to keep my job too. But I HAVE to get this paperwork handled and those keepers of the Gods of Medicine are really starting to piss me off.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Important Things Right Now

Friday night, my sweet Mom was in a car accident driving home after we had a fabulous dinner out together. She's a bit fuzzy on the details, as to how it happened exactly, but she was injured pretty badly. A fracture to the C-2 vertebrae, right now, we are still waiting for it to be determined if she's going to need surgery or not. It is a scary time for us all.

We are fortunate in that my sister and I both live in the same town, and the hospital is very close to home. We are also very lucky that although the rest of Mom's family is out of town, she has a fabulous network of really close friends who are just waiting for us to determine what will need to be done and are willing to help us out in any way they can.

Mom is in pretty good spirits, although not thrilled with having to be flat on her back and immobilized. She's hungry too, as they won't let her eat until they know more. We like our good food, so that its making her a bit grouchy from time to time.

If it is your thing, I ask that you say a prayer for my sweet Momma --- that healing comes swiftly and it all works out okay.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Free Money For College?

I'm not normally one to jump all over the "Deal of The Day" Sites, but this one intrigued me. It was a Living Social Deal from GradSave. Basically, GradSave is way to get friend's or family to contribute to your child's future college education instead of them just handing over more and more plastic toys.
You can link up an existing 529 account, OR you can let it sit there until you open a 529 for your child.

So, when I got the link, I decided to read up as much as I could about GradSave and everything I found was pretty positive. So, I decided to go for it. Basically, you can purchase a $50 gift card for $24 through GradSave & Living Social . That's basically doubling your investment from the get-go!

GradSave even keeps track of who donates what to make thank you note writing easy as pie!

I did hit one hiccup when I bought the deal, but a quick email to GradSave (a reply to the Welcome e-mail they had just sent me) -- and the problem was resolved within minutes. It just took a few minutes for everything to be updated so that my gift card code was valid.

Given the Princess's age, I'm not sure how lucky we will be in getting the grandparents and such to contribute at this point -- but at the end of it, it was $26 free for college! THAT was definitely worth the time!

***Links above are my referral links***

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Textbooks for This Semester.... a Much Happier Story

Back in the Fall, we ended up having to go the textbook route for the Princess's college textbooks. Not really understanding how to get the book information ahead of time, and with the Princess so far away, we couldn't really do the online shopping that I had hoped for. That ended up being a big, fat, whopping $600 mistake.

With her living at home, and therefore having an actual delivery address.... we were able to order her textbooks online through Amazon and Chegg. HUGE HUGE difference! Most of the books, I rented through Chegg --- and spent $177. Buying those books new (which we had to last semester), I would have spent over $500. The other book, I found on Amazon, and bought it used for cheaper than I could rent it. Given that this book is a paperback, and therefore more likely for US to damage, I thought that was the better option!

All told, I saved over $550 buy getting the books online. That's such a happy feeling!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Roll Tide, Y'all...

Tonight is the National Championship Game. Words cannot express HOW MUCH I wish I was in Miami at this moment. I bleed Crimson. During the "dark years" I managed to make it to just about every single home game (thanks to my Daddy's season tickets). This year, not one single game, although the Princess did! Tonight, I'll sit in our favored "dive" and watch our beloved Tide take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Tonight, I'll hopefully be watching history happen. I'm hoping for the University of Alabama to take home it's third of the last four National Championships. I'm hoping for the State of Alabama to bring home it's fourth straight (yeah, Auburn got one in there on us). I'm hoping for the SEC to bring home it's 7th straight National Championship.

All day long, my Facebook feed and Twitter feed has been filled with some sort of variation of the picture above. The Chief Financial Officer of my company is wearing a houndstooth suit. Half of my co-workers (including myself) are wearing some variation of crimson or houndstooth. I sent the Princess off to her first day of classes wearing a shirt that said "You Had Me At Roll Tide". To say this is a big deal around here.... well that's an understatement.

I get it that the rest of the college football world is sick to death of the SEC. Can't say I blame them... but for me, Roll Tide and Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, Give 'em Hell Alabama!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Groceries & Gas

Publix once again offered the gas card deal. Gotta LOVE 20% off gas. When I was at the store, though, they didn't have one displayed for the station I wanted. When I asked at customer service, the lady told me that if I bought $100 in groceries, I could get two gift cards at $10 off each..... and that's pre-coupon price on my groceries. And the combo of the manufacturer coupons and Publix coupons and sales --- well, there were some pretty sweet deals to be had --- and on stuff that we actually need/use!
So, here's what I got:
2 International Delight Coffee Creamers
1 Country Crock Mashed Potatoes
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces
2 Armour Meatballs
2 Kraft Shredded Cheese
3 Ronzoni Pastas
1 Land O Lakes Half & Half
2 Simple Facial Wipes
1 Quaker Popped Chips
4.75 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breats
3 Green Giant Frozen Vegetables
1 Publix American Singles
2 Centrum Vitamins
2 Kraft Mac & Chees
2 Crystal Light
1 Ken's Salad Dressing
1 Advil (50 ct)
1 Publix Wheat Bread
1 30 Pound Pedigree Dog Food (not pictured)
Spent (groceries): $73.77
Saved (groceries): $76.74 or 51%
PLUS saved $20 on $100 worth of Gasoline Gift Cards!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Price of Pups

Three years ago, Thing 1 (the little white one), is an old man. He will be 13 years old in April. With one exception, he has been a very healthy and happy pup. Three years ago, he had to undergo surgery for bladder stones. Since then, he really hasn't skipped a beat.

Thursday night, however, I noticed symptoms that indicated we might have a reoccurence. So, off to the vet we went. Since he had a history of issues, we went ahead with xrays, blood profile, the works. $507 later, no, he doesn't have the bladder stones. A few other areas of concern --- (I mean he IS 12 years old) so there may be things I have to think really hard about in the future.

For now though, antibiotics and a wait and see approach. I'm happy to report though that Thing 1 is back to his normal self! Hoping that continues for a quite a bit longer.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year Filled With Uncertainty

Anyone else not 100% sure they are ready for 2013? I should be, I KNOW I should be. But the running behind that dogged me the entire months of December seems to be sticking around as we kick off the New Year. I finally got all the Christmas "stuff" packed up today --- however the tree is still up. The Princess has promised she would work on it tomorrow while I'm at work. Oh, well, its not the latest its every come down -- but it still seems not quite right.

Financially.... well, I'm still trying to figure out how much take home pay I'm going to have going forward. With just about every penny accounted for each month, I'm not looking forward to the new tax changes that are going to go into place. I know for certain that regardless of how it shakes down, I will defnitely be looking at less take home pay from the get go.

The job is still kind of in the uncertain arena, but its muddling through. I'd really like to kind of  know what's going to happen there.

There are some potentially very exciting things on the horizon. The path to get there may be a bit fraught with uncertainty, but it could be the most exciting year to date.

Hope you all have a simply wonderful 2013!!!!